February is the month of love, where Valentine’s Day offers us a moment to reflect on the special people in our lives. And of course, what better way to show affection than through food and candy?
It’s no secret that chocolate sales are at a peak during this time, and all that great Valentine’s candy will be on sale soon. While it is tempting to reach for those clearance candies, take a moment to think about how all that sugar may affect your oral health.
At this point, you probably know that sugar is bad for your teeth and that the more sugar you consume, the more likely you are to get cavities and other dental issues. It is true that sweets can lead to oral issues and cavities, but just know that – like most things in life – it’s all about moderation and how you take care of yourself.
Is sugar the problem?
A diet high in sugar can certainly lead to tooth decay, but the problem isn’t actually the sugar itself.
Right now, there exists a lot of bacteria in your mouth, most of them good and necessary for the oral ecosystem. When you consume sugar, some of the bacteria react with the carbohydrates and produce acids that can suck essential minerals from your enamel, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
It’s that “demineralization” process that causes oral issues. Luckily, our bodies have a natural response to this through saliva, which contains minerals like calcium to help reverse the process. Fluoride also helps with this, which is why it’s so prevalent in our water and tooth care products.
However, this natural process can only do so much to protect your enamel if you’re constantly consuming sugar and not taking measures to fully protect your teeth.
Have your cake and eat it too!
So now that we know what leads to tooth decay, you and your dentist can collaborate on creating a treatment plan that will allow you to indulge in the foods you want while still preventing cavities. Meanwhile, educating your loved ones on the process will also help them see that importance of maintaining good oral hygiene, so that they can learn the importance of moderating their sugar diet, too.
We recommend that you:
- Continue to brush at least two times a day, 2 minutes each time.
- Continue to floss daily BEFORE you brush.
- Use mouthwash after consuming sugary foods.
- Encourage saliva production by chewing on sugarless gum and eating fibrous veggies and fruits.
- Switch to yogurt as a sweets replacement since it contains calcium and phosphates, which are important for strong enamels.
- See your dentist regularly for check-ups, deep cleaning, and possible fluoride treatments.
Dr. Stephen Coates and his experienced dental staff in Long Beach have all the information and tools you need to lead a healthy life and protect your mouth. Talk with us about creating a dental plan that will allow you to lead a fulfilling life while still maintaining good oral health.
Book with us now online, or call us at 562-434-6414.